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David's Tip of the Day: Openings, Part 1 - Speech (Common Jam-Safe Blues Openings)

David Barrett Admin's picture

Today I'll start a series to help you understand, and eventually use, the common opening types found in blues that are safe to call in a sit-in (you sitting in with an established blues band) or jam session (mixture of skill and experience level of musicians) situation.

Let's start with the basics of what generally needs to be stated for a song...

1) Key - "E," for example. Avoid drawn-out phrases like "Okay, we're going to play a song in the key of E." Keep it succinct... "E"

2) Groove - State the feel of the song, such as "Shuffle." Though this doesn't give the band exact parts that may be intrinsic to your specific song, it will get the band in the ballpark. You shouldn't choose songs that have parts that are important to the performance of a song anyways... a sit-in situation requires you to choose more generic grooves. The more elements your song has that you need to communicate with the band, the lower probability of a success performance you'll have.

3) Where To Start - The band needs to know where to start in the blues form. For example... "From the I," "From the V" or "From the Turnaround."

In preparation for our next step, please listen to "Need My Baby" by Big Walter Horton on the Fine Cuts (Blind Pig) release. He's on a C Harmonica (2nd Position, Key of G) by the way.